15 Heroic Books for Memorial Day

Memorial Day honors the heroes who dedicate their lives to protecting our country. From our veterans, to our active duty men and women, to the fallen in times of war and peace, we give thanks for their service and value their sacrifice. Celebrate this Memorial Day with our special collection of 15 books showcasing the valor, the risk, and the danger faced on the front lines.

Explore the collection today.


 Combat Crew by John Comer

Pieced together from his personal journal and flush with first-hand details from his crewmen, John Comer has written a vivid history of his experience all recorded within hours of active fighting. As a seasoned gunner/flight engineer, Comer was thrown against the best pilots in the Luftwaffe. In 1943, the Germans were better equipped and more experienced in combat. This left the Americans deep in enemy territory facing freezing temperatures, faulty equipment, and pummeling antiaircraft fire. Comer’s powerful narrative is devoted to the men who risked their lives for their country and each other. Immediate, straightforward, compelling, Combat Crew is a must-read account of aerial warfare.

Women of Courage by Margaret Truman

In this unforgettable, award-winning book, New York Times bestselling author Margaret Truman profiles twelve remarkable women, some famous, others little known. They range from a United States senator to a Native American to a first lady. Most wore bonnets and long skirts; few had college degrees; and only a handful stepped into a voting booth. But these women spoke the same language as their sisters today. Truman’s look into the past pays tribute to the courage of American women from the Revolution to the present.

 Angels in Sadr City by Anthony Farina

This is the harrowing tale of a group of soldiers who fought and defended our country during one of the bloodiest and longest battles in The War on Terror, in Sadr City. It is also a tale of one soldiers recovery from the brutality, through the use of writing, music, and spirituality.

 American Boys by Louise Esola

American Boys is the heartbreaking and inspiring true story of the only warship to set sail to fight the war in Vietnam and never come home. For coming-of-age American boys in 1969, death seemed one hill away. By then, nearly 300 of them were coming home in boxes each week. In a tragedy of just the same, lost in the turmoil of what would become America’s most unpopular war, lies a story buried 1,100 fathoms deep in the blue waters off Vietnam. Journalist Louise Esola has uncovered and pieced together a powerful rebuttal, putting the ship and her men in the rip-roaring time and place that was Vietnam. Groundbreaking and astonishing in scope and intimate details, American Boys is a story of heartbreak and perseverance.

 Where the Yellow Violets Grow by D.L. Gardner

Based on true events. Petworth, England 1944. Operation Overlord begins. First Lieutenant Janet Castner is assigned to a small hospital unit. Amid the turbulence of nursing the critically wounded GIs arriving from Normandy, her arrogant commanding officer takes her aside and asserts his love for her. Passions flare when he wrongly suspects she and another officer are having an affair. But, unbeknownst to the major, Janet has instead sworn her love to a injured infantry man, Sergeant Lou Morrissey. When the major discovers their clandestine romance, he wields his authority in order to destroy their lives forever.

 9/11 Ordinary People: Extraordinary Heroes by Will G. Merrill Jr.

This moving portrayal takes you face to face with the exceptional bravery of ordinary people who found themselves caught in the deadliest terrorist attack the country has ever faced. Witness the dramatic events through the eyes of the first responders going into the face of danger to help evacuate 25,000 people. The book tells the gripping story of people barely escaping, some buried alive and others trapped for hours under building debris. First responders describe what it was like to search for survivors among the wreckage, while others explain their duties as members of clergy and the American Red Cross. In addition, Merrill interviews widows and family members of some of the first responders who gave their lives to help others.

 Tower of the Sun by Michael J. Totten

Prize-winning author Michael J. Totten’s gripping first-person narratives from the war zones, police states, and revolutionary capitals of the Middle East and North Africa paint a vivid picture of peoples and nations at war with themselves, each other, and–sometimes–with the rest of the world. Tower of the Sun is a timeless close-up of one of the world’s most violent and turbulent regions that will resonate for decades to come.

From Chicago to Vietnam: A Memoir of War by Michael Duffy

A memoir detailing a true story. In the early hours on January 31, 1968, eighty-thousand North Vietnamese and Vietcong combat troops attacked every major city and military base in South Vietnam. Both gritty and intimate, From Chicago to Vietnam tells the powerful story of the ensuing epic battle, the Tet Offensive. Told from the perspective of one brave American soldier whose life changed forever. And, after his brutal one-year tour in Vietnam, Duffy returns to Chicago. He then enrolls as a freshman at Colorado College. But, like for many vets, his return from the war was met with curiosity, indifference, and, at times, scorn. It is a story of scars a vet must bear, ones that can never truly fade, even when back home.

Shield and Sword: The United States navy and the Persian Gulf War by Edward J. Marolda and Robert J. Schneller

A story not as well known as the land and air campaigns. But the campaign at sea in the 1991 Gulf War was vital in subduing Saddam Hussein’s invasion forces and driving them out of Kuwait. This book is based on previously classified reports, interviews with participants, and studies. The book also includes candid evaluations of leadership effectiveness, interservice relations, and methods of command and control. Winner of the Navy League’s Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and favorably reviewed by military scholars and foreign affairs journals. This is a credible historical account that captures the drama as well as the detail of a modern victory at sea.

Service with the Sixth Wisconsin by Rufus R. Dawes and Thomas W. Lewis

An illustrated account of one of the most celebrated brigades in the history of the Civil War. Service With the Sixth Wisconsin details first-hand accounts of the bloody campaign of forty-five days. The book covers the battles of Gainesville and Bull Run Second under General Pope, and the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, in the Maryland campaign. Dawes and his regiment fought in these and other major battles including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.

Women in Vietnam by Ron Steinman

Women in Vietnam is an oral history told through the distinct voices of the American women who served in Vietnam during the war. These women were nurses, Red Cross workers (Donut Dollies), and WAC’s (Women’s Army Corps). The women served in field hospitals as nurses, entertained the troops at base camps in fire zones and were intelligence analysts, among other duties. All were volunteers. None were drafted. Some women were wounded. Some were killed. On returning home during and after the war, some suffered from PTSD. All these women are real veterans despite remaining essentially invisible to the public. Their stories are a powerful reminder of the role women played during the Vietnam War.

Skyhawk: The Slide for Death by Captain Steven T. Sunderman USMC

Told during America’s final days of the brutal Vietnam War. This is the story of the Marines who flew and maintained the A-4 Skyhawks and the CH-46 Marine helicopter/Sea Knights. This is also the story of the North Vietnamese gun crews who were attempting to drive the attacking Marine aircraft and helicopters from their skies. The story begins with one of the great rescue attempts in U.S. aviation history. And it is a stunning portrayal of one of the highest decorated Marine combat pilots who flew over one thousand combat missions.

An American Odysseus by Charles Chapman

The true story of a triumphant journey through a childhood of abuse, instability, and uncertainty. A young man desires to become a priest but instead becomes a soldier. The story progresses to a challenging military career and years of combat, each fraught with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles to be overcome. What you will read is an exultation of the human spirit driven by determination, humor, and stubbornness.

We Were Soldiers Too: The Second Korean War – The DMZ Conflict by Bob Kern

An account of the US soldiers who kept the DMZ between North and South Korea secure during the little known Second Korean War (1966-69). Laying out the difficult realities and the tenuous peace reached a decade earlier, the story recounts how the war came perilously close to reigniting. Describing the day-to-day struggle of the men trying to stay alive in a place where the fighting was supposed to be long over. From enemy infiltrators, to booby traps, raids, and outright aggression, these stories give fresh perspective to a situation that continues to today.

Unsung Hero; Forgotten War by G.F. Schraeder

May 11, 1943. The U.S. army and naval invasion force began the amphibious assault of Attu. Their directive was to drive out the Japanese garrison of a mere 2,500 still holding the island. Attu, at the western tip of the Aleutian island chain, was halfway to Japan. This was to be the pivotal battle of the campaign. It was to finally drive the Japanese off America’s soil. And possibly prevent a future invasion of North America through Alaska. To the war planners of Western Defense Command, the odds were overwhelmingly favorable. The assault would be a quick thirty-six hour operation. It turned into a frozen, hellish nightmare that lasted twenty days. The Battle of Attu ranks second only to Iwo Jima in terms casualties. But in the annals of WWII history, it was to become known as America’s Forgotten War.


For more books celebrating Memorial Day, browse our full collection on BN.com.

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